Langley dragon boaters form new crews

Beverley O’Connor and her fellow paddlers have formed a supergroup of sorts.

The dragon boating enthusiast wanted to compete in the BC Seniors Games this September, but didn’t want to leave her own regular team to join one of the local groups already signed up.

So she came together with a number of other over-55 paddlers to create the Flashdragons.

The team members are all members of other local dragon boating crews, but now they’ll have a single banner under which to compete against foes both from Langley and the Lower Mainland and from around the province.

Dragon boat racing is one of the more popular sports in the Seniors Games, with hundreds of athletes taking part.

Teams have a drummer, a steersperson, and 20 paddlers.

Unlike many athletic endeavours, dragon boat racing is dominated by women to such an extent that there is no men’s division in the Seniors Games, noted O’Connor. There are women’s teams, like the Flashdragons, and mixed teams only.

She’s hopeful that the Flashdragons will have enough time to learn to work well together before they have to face off against their opponents.

“One of the most important things is timing,” said O’Connor.

With their new coach, the team members will have to learn to put their paddles in and out of the water in perfect unison.

They held their first full practise on the weekend, and will meet up for a total of eight more sessions before they head into the competition.

That’s not a lot of time for a traditional team, but because each member is already and avid paddler, they really just need to get to know one another and to mesh with their coach’s style.

“Everyone’s keen, they’re all fit because they’ve been working hard on their own teams,” said O’Connor.

She’s now sure how they’ll do. The last Seniors Games were in the Interior.

“Being in the Lower Mainland, there may be a little bit more competition,” said O’Connor. 

The Games are Sept. 9-13.

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